Indie label licensing agency Merlin makes deal with YouTube; cash money to appear out of thin air

Indie label licensing agency Merlin makes deal with YouTube; cash money to appear out of thin air

When I’m not weeping for humanity courtesy of the comments posted there, the majority of my time on YouTube is spent perusing various music uploads to share with those who are unfamiliar. As much as the sound quality of some of these uploads makes me want to vomit out of my ear holes, they’re at least useful for a quick and dirty introduction to an artist’s work. Now, in an agreement between YouTube and independent label licensing agency Merlin — representing labels such as Merge, Warp, Sub Pop, Domino, and Beggars Group (which owns or distributes 4AD, Rough Trade, Matador, and XL) — will be able to receive royalties whenever official music videos or user-generated videos featuring their music are played on the site.

Additionally, speaking with Billboard, Merlin CEO Charles Caldas points out how the deal (the exact terms of which have yet to be revealed) will also allow labels to create their own channels and “build a premium monetization model.” My brain takes a hiatus whenever I hear or read financial jargon mixed with music-related subjects, but I’m going to assume that building a “premium monetization model” essentially means that, to a degree, labels can work out their own structure for earning money via the site.

Billboard also highlights the relevant statistic that the market share of Merlin member labels currently stands at 10%, roughly one-third of all independently-owned “repertoire,” as they put it. So depending on which labels choose to participate, and what the exact terms of the deal are, this could be a pretty decent boon for the pockets of those who help to release the albums that we all (well, at least those who read TMT) know and love. Now if we can only figure out a way to pay users who upload videos of their cute little cats doing hilarious things. They need to be rewarded too.

• Merlin:

Pete Swanson releasing a solo LP on Type Records. Squint really hard and it’s a new Yellow Swans album.

Remember 90s Nickelodeon? I still can’t believe some of those dumb kids on Legends of the Hidden Temple couldn’t put together the Shrine of the Silver Monkey. Remember how for years you had to scour the sketchiest corners of the internet to find episodes of Are You Afraid of the Dark? Remember recently when 90s Nickelodeon (sort of) came back? I don’t actually know what channel it comes on now, because I don’t have cable, but I’m fairly certain the lineup includes Clarissa Explains It All and Doug.

So, speaking of cool things ending, then returning in a slightly different fashion, remember when Yellow Swans disbanded back in 2008? Then remember in 2010 when Pete Swanson, one half of the noise duo, released a solo LP titled Feelings in America on Root Strata (TMT Review)? And remember how earlier this year, Swanson released another LP called I Don’t Rock At All on Three Lobed Recordings as well as a 7-inch on Emerald Cocoon?

Well, come November, Swanson will release yet another new album, Man With Potential, via Type Records. He recently explained the LP’s sound to Altered Zones:

The album is mainly comprised of fairly fractured electronic sounds, tape loops of voices, and field recordings, with occasional melodic themes and kick drums emerging to ground the pieces in some more accessible sonic territory. At the time of this recording, I was fixated on out-of-sync looping patterns and creating very dense work by layering very brief sounds.

Not exactly Yellow Swans, but definitely Yellow Swans-esque. Over at The Wire, you can stream four recent Pete Swanson songs, including one from Man With Potential.

• Pete Swanson:
• Type:

The Flaming Lips unveil website to stream their 24-hour Halloween song (Note to self: take off work on November 1)

Given the rapid and uncontrollable mutation of The Flaming Lips’ “batshit gene” in the past two years or so, it was hardly a stretch to imagine that The Flaming Lips would eventually get nuts enough to attempt the ultimate cosmic apogee of weed/skulls evolution: the 24-hour-long song. But what not even Jurassic Park’s Dr. Ian Malcolm could have predicted that, in the process, they would also become super-intelligent enough to make a specific website for it. And not just because he’s not a real person (though, yeah, mostly because of that). But according to Prefix, life once again found a way.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Flaming Lips 24 Hour Song Dot Com. And right now, the only thing that’s on there is a picture of one of those USB gummie skulls (apparently titled “7 Skies H3”?) and a countdown clock to 12 AM CST on Halloween, at which point the stream of the massive party track will begin. As of the time of this writing, you’ve got a little over three days and 11 hours to charge up all of your web-enabled devices, buy a boatload of coffee, and empty your mind of all the extraneous bullshit like work and family and spatial reasoning and motor skills that could interfere with your being accosted for an entire day by what I can only assume is the sound of Stephen Drozd feeding a bale of hay to a hungry baby grand piano on which Michael Ivins is simultaneously playing J.S. Bach’s entire catalog to accompany Wayne Coyne as he speech-sings the entirety of Ulysses through his megaphone to a hungry crowd of disgruntled seniors in a nursing home cafeteria. Or heck, maybe it’s just “U Smile 800% Slower, 8000% slower.” Either way, see you guys in hell in a couple days!

• 24 Hour Song:
• The Flaming Lips:

Cloud Nothings release sophomore album recorded by Steve Albini in January; the sky is the limit!

This summer I forced an old high school friend to listen Cloud Nothings, telling him that that singer Dylan Baldi had an appealing (if possible) voice reminiscent of Tom DeLonge of Blink 182. My friend, an ex-Blink 182 fanatic, said he didn’t like Baldi’s voice, and that I was wrong.

Often, I am wrong, but if you like an album for nostalgic reasons personal to you then the musicians must have done something right. But, if Cloud Nothings self-titled full-length debut did nothing for you, well then possibly the follow-up Attack on Memory, to be released on January 24 on Carpark Records, will place you on cloud nine.

A cloud joke, get it?

According to Exclaim!, the entire staff of the Canadian music zine listened to some of the new album and claims it sounds like a mix of Superchunk and Cap’n Jazz. Big whoop! My mom made the same comparison about my diarrhea sounds in the bathroom last night.

Luckily, Steve Albini in Chicago (No, not Steve Albini in Phoenix!) recorded this album and probably made the album sound exactly like Blink 182, which is something we all hope for with most albums.

Now, get your head out of the clouds and watch a teaser for Attack on Memory via Carpark Records!

• Cloud Nothings:
• Carpark:

RIP: Charles Hamm, musicologist and author

From The New York Times:

Charles Hamm, who helped establish the field of American popular music history with two books that have become standard texts, died on Oct. 16 in Lebanon, N. H. He was 86.

The cause was pneumonia, his son Stuart said.

After beginning his career as a specialist in Renaissance music, Mr. Hamm became frustrated with the condescension of his fellow musicologists toward contemporary popular music. He began to write and lecture on the subject.

“There was no literature in my own discipline to guide me,” he later recalled in “Putting Popular Music in Its Place,” a 1995 collection of his essays. “My first attempts were shots in the dark, guided only by the germ of a conviction that popular music should be approached as a complex field encompassing composers, performers, audiences, the music industry, the media and the state.”

• Charles Hamm:

Captain Ahab European tourdates, new music video, and animated GIFs… all the techno-punk you could ever need

So. Your Tumblr’s been looking pretty lame these days. You can’t find any new videos of cats stuck in boxes or photos of stylish people on city streets. What the fuck else can you post? You already took a picture of that pasta you made for dinner and the Christmas lights you strung around your room two months early.

WAIT. How about one of the new Captain Ahab GIFs? Animated representations of a techno-punk duo! Download them here! Cool! Or better yet, how about their new video for “Girls Gone Wild,” directed by Patrick Kennelly? The song isn’t new at all — it’s actually about six years old — which makes the whole thing sort of vintage, right? Or, how about getting the hell off of the internet and going to one of Captain Ahab’s upcoming shows?


11.16.11 - Milan, Italy - Cox 18
11.17.11 - Faenza, Italy - Il Clandestino
11.18.11 - Feltre, Italy - Bandalarga
11.19.11 - Zagreb, Croatia - Tvornica
11.20.11 - Brno, Czech Republic - Boro Klub
11.21.11 - Prague, Czech Republic - Final Club
11.22.11 - Krakow, Poland - Klub Alchemia
11.23.11 - TBA
11.24.11 - TBA
11.25.11 - Hamburg, Germany - Hafenklang
11.26.11 - Rotterdam, Netherlands - Worm
11.27.11 - TBA

• Captain Ahab:
• Deathbomb Arc:


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